How Soy Became Known as a “Health Food”
But first, let’s review a bit of the history behind soy that created this misperception in the public’s mind.
Years ago, tropical oils, such as palm and coconut oil, were commonly used in American food production. However, these are obviously not grown in the US. With the exception of Hawaii, our climate isn’t tropical enough.
Spurred on by financial incentives, the industry devised a plan to shift the market from tropical oils to something more “home grown.” As a result, a movement was created to demonize and vilify tropical oils in order to replace them with domestically grown oils such as corn and, primarily, soy.
For the most part, they’ve been very successful in their campaign to paint soy in a healthy light. So, the information I have to share with you may disappoint and challenge many of you, especially vegetarians, because vegetarians and vegans use soy as one of their primary sources of protein.
But I’m here to tell you that after studying this issue very carefully, I’m convinced that unless the soy you’re consuming is fermented, you’re putting your health at risk.
Fermented Soy is the Only Type of Soy with Health Benefits
There’s only one type of soy that can be construed as a health food, and that is fermented soy.
Examples of health-promoting fermented soy foods include:
Natto is actually a phenomenal food. It’s a fermented soy product that can be a bit challenging to locate, but you can usually find it in Asian food stores. It’s very high in vitamin K2, which is a phenomenal vitamin, much like vitamin D.
Together, vitamin K2 and vitamin D provide a large number of significant health benefits, such as improving bone density and reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, just to name a few.
Natto has probably the highest concentration of vitamin K2 out of any food.
Miso and tempeh do not contain vitamin K2 but they are also fermented forms of soy that are excellent sources of health-promoting natural probiotics.
The fermentation process is what makes the soy a healthy addition to your diet, as it breaks down the goitrogens, isoflavones and other harmful elements in the soy.
It’s important to realize that tofu is NOT a fermented soy product, and should not be consumed if you want to avoid the health problems associated with non-fermented soy.
It is also important to understand that while fermented soy is healthier for you, it is not wise to consume it in large quantities because it is still loaded with phytoestrogens, like isoflavones, which can cause detrimental feminizing effects.
What’s So Bad About Unfermented Soy?
One of the primary reasons for avoiding soy products is because the vast majority of soy grown in the US is genetically modified (GM) soy. The GM variety planted in 91 percent of US soy acres is Roundup Ready—engineered to survive being doused with otherwise lethal amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
Monsanto produces both the Roundup Ready soy seeds and the herbicide Roundup.
The logic — if you can call it that after all factors are considered — behind GM crops such as soy is that you can decrease the cost of production by killing off everything except the actual soy plant.
Unfortunately, consumers pay a hefty price in terms of health instead.
Are You Willing to Risk Eradicating Your Future Family Lineage?
Some of the more recent research shows that many of the health problems do not even occur in those who consume these GM foods. Some of the most devastating harm may occur in the second and third generations!
I recently interviewed GMO expert Jeffrey Smith about the latest findings by Russian scientists, who discovered that GM soy effectively sterilized the third generation of hamsters…
One group of hamsters was fed a normal diet without any soy whatsoever, a second group was fed non-GMO soy, a third ate GM soy, and a fourth group ate an even higher amount of GM soy than the third.
Using the same GM soy produced in the US, the hamsters and their offspring were fed their respective diets over a period of two years, during which time the researchers evaluated three generations of hamsters.
Shockingly, the second-generation of GM soy-fed hamsters had a five-fold higher infant mortality rate, compared to the 5 percent normal death rate that was happening in the controls.
Worse yet, nearly all of the third generation hamsters were sterile! Only one single third-generation female hamster gave birth to 16 pups, and of those, one fifth died.
Another bizarre side effect found in the GM soy-fed groups was an unusually high prevalence of an otherwise extremely rare phenomenon – hair growing inside the animals’ mouths. (You can see the images here.)
These are just a couple of concerns. There are certainly many others, and I’ve written extensively about the health hazards of GM foods. If you’re new to this topic and want more information, my article Everything you MUST KNOW About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods is a good place to start.
You can also find lots of additional information about GMOs on the site www.ResponsibleTechnology.org, created by Jeffrey Smith. We’re working with Jeffrey, who is one of the leaders of the movement to restrict the use of GM foods in the United States, as they have done in Europe, primarily through consumer awareness and action to motivate industry changes, because there is NO government regulation against it.
Your involvement is vital in this respect. And avoiding soy products, including soy derivatives found in most processed foods, is part of it.
But soy is not the only GM food to beware of.
The easiest way to avoid ending up with any type of GM food in your shopping cart is to do some pre-planning using this free non-GMO shopping guide. There’s also a free iPhone application available in the iTunes store, which you can find by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
ResponsibleTechnology.org also offers additional guides you can hand out to friends, health care practitioners, and decision makers within your community, along with free online videos, podcasts, and articles that you can repost and republish.
Why All Organic Soy is NOT the Answer Either
All of that said, even if you were fortunate enough to find organic soy, there are still several other significant concerns with unfermented soy that make it far from attractive from a health standpoint.
Soy contains a number of problematic components that can wreak havoc with your health, such as:
* Goitrogens – Goitrogens, found in all unfermented soy whether it’s organic or not, are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.
One common source of soy is soy milk. Many consume it as an alternative to milk or one of their primary beverages. Soy milk is a significant contributor to thyroid dysfunction or hypothyroidism in women in the US.
So if you’re a woman struggling with low thyroid function and you’re consuming soy milk, that’s a giant clue you need to stop drinking it immediately.
* Isoflavones: genistein and daidzein – Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound resembling human estrogen, which is why some recommend using soy therapeutically to treat symptoms of menopause. I believe the evidence is highly controversial and doubt it works.
Typically, most of us are exposed to too much estrogen compounds and have a lower testosterone level than ideal, so it really is important to limit exposure to feminizing phytoestrogens.
Even more importantly, there’s evidence it may disturb endocrine function, cause infertility, and promote breast cancer, which is definitely a significant concern.
Drinking two glasses of soy milk daily for just one month provides enough of these compounds to alter your menstrual cycle. Although the FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, no warnings exist on soy.
* Phytic acid — Phytates (phytic acid) bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc — all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians, because eating meat reduces the mineral-blocking effects of these phytates.
Sometimes it can be beneficial, especially in postmenopausal women and in most adult men because we tend to have levels of iron that are too high which can be a very potent oxidant and cause biological stress.However, phytic acid does not necessarily selectively inhibit just iron absorption; it inhibits all minerals. This is very important to remember, as many already suffer from mineral deficiencies from inadequate diets.
The soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume, and the phytates in soy are highly resistant to normal phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking. Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans.
* Natural toxins known as “anti-nutrients” — Soy also contains other anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, protease inhibitors, and oxalates. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating is extremely high.
* Hemagglutinin — Hemagglutinin is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.
Soy to Avoid
As I mentioned, tofu is not fermented soy so it should be avoided.
Other examples of common soy products to avoid include soy protein and isolated soy protein powder, which you’ll find in many protein bars and protein drinks.
Isolated soy protein powder is actually not a naturally produced substance. Production takes place in industrial factories where a slurry of soy beans is first mixed with an alkaline solution to remove fiber, then precipitated and separated using an acid wash and, finally, neutralized in an alkaline solution.
Acid washing in aluminum tanks leaches high levels of aluminum into the final product.
The resultant curds are spray- dried at high temperatures to produce a high-protein powder. MSG, a well-known excitotoxin that can cause neurological damage, is frequently added as well.
Another common form of soy you’re likely exposed to is soy oil, which brings us back to where we started.
Ninety-five percent of the foods Americans spend their money on are processed foods, many of which contain soy oil.
Soy oil is extremely high in omega-6, which is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. And although you do need omega-6, soy oil is a terrible source as it is highly processed and refined, which severely damages it.
Consuming a diet high in processed foods, which by default is high in soy oil, is a primary contributor to the severe imbalance most people have in their omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which in turn contributes to creating disease.
Other harmful soy products I’ve not already mentioned include:
* Soy cheese
* Soy ice cream
* Soy yogurt
* Soy “meat” (meatless products made of TVP)
* Soy lecithin
Infant Soy Formula – Perhaps the Most Dangerous Soy Products of All
But perhaps one of the most harmful types of soy products that you need to be extremely cautious of is soy infant formula.
I strongly recommend every single mother to breastfeed for a minimum of six months, preferably longer. There is absolutely no question that breastfeeding is the most healthful option for both you and your baby. Conventional physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many women choose not to breastfeed their child, leaving them with few alternatives.
Most opt for conventional formula, which has its own health risks, courtesy of inadequate nutrition (there are at least 400 nutrients in breast milk that are not found in formula), combined with excessive fructose and toxic contaminants.
But many children are allergic to conventional formula, and these parents can easily be convinced that soy formula is the solution.
Sadly, soy formula is FAR worse than conventional formula, in large part due to its excessive levels of phytoestrogens. The estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm your baby’s sexual development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula receive a level of estrogen equivalent to five birth control pills every day!
Infants fed soy formula have up to 20,000 times the amount of estrogen in circulation as those fed conventional formulas!
In addition, soy formula has up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk, which can lead to brain damage in infants, and altered behaviors in adolescence.
So please, do not ever feed your baby soy formula, and warn others who are pregnant or who you know are considering using formula over breastfeeding.
The next best alternative to breast milk is to make a healthy homemade infant formula. There may be others, but here is one recipe for homemade formula created by the Weston Price Foundation, which I believe is sound.
Educate Yourself about the Health Effects of Soy
I encourage you to continue reviewing the evidence against soy if you’re still skeptical.
There are also some great books on this topic that document this information in clear detail and provide countless references that you can validate for yourself. One of these books, which I recommend very highly, is The Whole Soy Story by Dr. Kaayla Daniel.
There’s a lot of information out there, and I understand the challenge of trying to explore these health issues. Many times motivations must be taken into account in order to sift through the information and get to the heart of the matter.
In the case of soy, as I mentioned, a primary motivation appears to have been promoting the sale of domestic soy in the US, as this increases profits, as opposed to benefiting your health…
The purpose of this site is to gather this varied information, present it to you, and offer you the starting point to do your own independent research. Because once you have the information, you have the power to take control of your own health.
The One True Lifestyle for Washboard Abs
It’s not easy to get dreamy washboard abs, and many of you who gaze at magazine covers longingly may believe that you’re even completely unable to achieve that look. You can get there too, but it takes lots of hard work, consistency, and above all else… knowing what kind of lifestyle you need in the first place!
If you go about your fitness routine the wrong way, you’ll end up sweating away for nothing. Instead of treating yourself so harshly, why not get started right by informing yourself on that proper lifestyle beforehand? We’ll spill all the secrets for you right here, right now.
Your lifestyle needs to start with cardio. Yes, that’s right, CARDIO IS THE BEGINNING OF YOUR JOURNEY TO NEW ABS… not ab-based exercises! If some form of cardio isn’t in your life four or five days a week, you might as well not be bothering entirely. That’s because burning off the fat that’s covering your abs is as important as developing your abs!
The next step is, of course, healthy eating and keeping yourself hydrated. Plenty of water a day will give you the fuel you need to keep going through your routine, and the right low-fat foods will make that essential task of losing fat easier.
The better you do on this end, the less difficult the exercise end of things will be. But no matter how well you eat, you can’t get great abs without exercise, and no matter how hard you exercise, you can’t get great abs without eating right!
What’s the very last ingredient of the one true way to Hollywood movie star abs? It’s the ab-based exercises, of course. These will actually take up a relatively small amount of space in your schedule, only needing to be done a few times a week.
Using gym equipment like the power tower can make the process even easier, but if you don’t have access to such things, go with the good old reliable crunch. There are over a dozen different ab-based exercises available even discounting those that require equipment, so feel free to mix it up a little. You can have fun with it, so long as your abs are feeling the burn!
All these put together make the lifestyle that gives even the greatest movie stars and body builders great abs… missing any one element will ruin the entire result! So do like they do, and get your life moving in the right direction in all aspects if you really want those ripped abs.
Tired of gadgets like the absonic belt? If you want the REAL truth on which exercises truly help burn fat the fastest, using the least amount of effort, then read these 3 tips to losing weight fast for less money and in less time.
1: Cardio is One of the Best Types of Exercise
In recent years, researchers have begun to realize that conventional cardio, such as jogging, is not all it’s been cracked up to be, and that you can actually improve your health and increase fat burning by making slight modifications to your cardio routine.
The problem is that traditional cardio only works on the slow twitch muscle fibers in your red muscle, completely ignoring your white muscle super-fast twitch fibers.
“Peak 8” refers to peak exercises done once or twice a week, in which you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period.
To perform these properly you will want to get very close to, if not exceed, your maximum heart rate by the last interval. Your maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus your age. You will need a heart rate monitor to measure this as it is nearly impossible to accurately measure your heart rate manually when it is above 150.
Researchers have found that interval cardio produces a unique metabolic response that is in large part responsible for its superior benefits. Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin and within your muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight loss.
It is also the only type of exercise that will increase growth hormone levels. This becomes especially important after the age of 30, when growth hormones steadily decline. It is much safer and far less expensive to have your body make growth hormone naturally though Peak 8 type exercises than inject it like many athletes do to the tune of $1500 per month.
2: Vaccines are Safe and Effective and Prevent Disease
I completely understand that for many this issue is not debatable as they believe that vaccines are one of the greatest gifts to public health in the history of civilization.
If you believe that, then let me encourage you to open your mind and explore other views held by many well respected physicians, scientists, clinicians and pro-vaccine safety educators.
You might want to review the article Read This Before Vaccinating for Anything, to help you start your exploration process.
When it comes to vaccines, there are three primary questions that need to be considered.
* First, is the vaccine in question safe?
* Secondly, does it effectively prevent disease?
* And third, which vaccines can safely and effectively be given together or in close succession?
Unfortunately, these issues have not been sufficiently studied for most vaccines, and those vaccines that have been studied frequently show that they are either unsafe or ineffective, or both!
Pro-vaccine-safety educators have long been saying that vaccines can over-stimulate your child’s immune system, sometimes causing the very disease it’s designed to protect against, or worse. And, when several vaccines are administered together, or in close succession, their interaction may completely overwhelm your child’s developing immune system.
This is one of the primary problems with vaccines in general – their detrimental impact on your body’s primary, natural defense against ALL disease.
Now consider that if your child is vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommended schedule, by the time your child starts kindergarten he or she will have received 48 doses of 14 vaccines. Of these, 36 doses will be given during the first 18 months of life – a time when your child’s body and brain is undergoing massive development!
Public health officials have NEVER proven that it is indeed safe to inject this volume of vaccines into infants. What’s more, they cannot explain why, concurrent with an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been an explosion of neurological and immune system disorders in American children.
This issue covers so much ground, it’s impossible to even try to summarize the many hazards and the lack of efficiency data for all the vaccines currently being given, in this article.
For more information please visit our vaccine section at http://vaccines.mercola.com/
3: Fluoride in Your Water Lowers Your Risk of Cavities
The theory behind the introduction of fluoride in your water supply initially seems beneficial – to reduce the incidence of dental caries in children. However, the health dangers of fluoride are so numerous; they far outweigh any benefit to your teeth, and that’s IF water fluoridation actually did what its claimed to do.
Today, even promoters of fluoridation concede that the major benefits are only from topical applications; fluoride works from the outside of the tooth, not from inside of your body, so why swallow it?
Statistics tell us that water fluoridation is ineffective for preventing caries. There is practically no difference in tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries, and no difference between states that have a high- or low percentage of their water fluoridated.
Meanwhile, fluoride can cause significant harm, from dental fluorosis to thyroid damage to reduced IQ… and much more.
I’ve joined forces with the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) to help end water fluoridation poisoning in Canada and the United States.
For more about the dangers of fluoride, and information about how to get involved in this campaign, please see this recent article, which also includes an excellent interview with Dr. Paul Connett, who created FAN and is one of the foremost experts on this topic.
4: GMOs Crops are Safe, Well Tested and Economically Beneficial
GMOs may be the greatest health disaster in the American diet. Within 9 years of their introduction in 1996, multiple chronic illnesses jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent of the population, food allergies doubled in less time, and many other ailments have exponentially increased with the introduction of GM foods.
Millions may already be suffering health problems caused by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their diet. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has already urged doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients, citing studies that show how GMOs cause disorders such as vital organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system problems, accelerated aging, infertility, and dysfunctional regulation of insulin and cholesterol.
But not only are GM foods a health disaster, they also pose a significant environmental threat, and industry promises of financial benefits have turned out to be false as well.
For a quick introduction, I recommend reading the article 10 Reasons to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods, which delves into everything from the health problems associated with eating GM foods to the evidence against GM crops as a sustainable, economically and environmentally viable alternative to traditional farming.
5: Sun Causes Skin Cancer
There are many misconceptions about melanoma – the most dangerous type of skin cancer that accounts for more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. But despite all the bad press linking sun exposure to skin cancer, there’s almost no evidence at all to support that stance. There is, however, plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Over the years, several studies have already confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer. In fact, melanoma occurrence has been found to decrease with greater sun exposure, and can be increased by sunscreens.
In my interview with vitamin D expert Dr. Robert Heaney, he explains how the conventional recommendations are in fact causing the very health problem they claim to prevent.
How does sunlight prevent, rather than cause, skin cancer?
In short, it’s the vitamin D formed in your skin from exposure to sunlight that provides this built in cancer protection.
The vitamin D goes directly to genes in your skin that help prevent the types of abnormalities that ultraviolet light causes. Unfortunately, if you follow the conventional recommendation to avoid sun exposure or always use sunscreen, your skin will not make any vitamin D, leaving you without this built-in cancer protection.
Statistics confirm the truth of these findings, as melanoma rates have increased right along with sun avoidance and increased use of sunscreens. If avoiding the sun actually was the answer, then melanoma rates should have decreased exponentially over the past couple of decades…
Instead, sun avoidance and the excessive use of sun screen are actually the two primary reasons for the rise in melanoma.
6: Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease
As recently as 2002, the “expert” Food & Nutrition Board issued the following misguided statement, which epitomizes this myth:
“Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have no known beneficial role in preventing chronic disease and are not required at any level in the diet.”
This dangerous recommendation, which arose from an unproven hypothesis from the mid-1950s, has been harming your health and that of your loved ones for about 40 years now.
The truth is, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances, without which your body cannot function optimally.
They also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.
In fact, saturated is the preferred fuel for your heart!
For more information about saturated fats and the essential role they play in maintaining your health, please read my previous article The Truth About Saturated Fat.
7: Artificial Sweeteners are Safe, Well Tested and Help Promote Weight Loss
Most people use artificial sweeteners to lose weight. The amazing irony is that nearly all the studies that have carefully analyzed their effectiveness show that those who use artificial sweeteners actually gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners.
In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda. On average, each diet soft drink the participants consumed per day increased their risk of becoming overweight by 65 percent within the next seven to eight years, and made them 41 percent more likely to become obese.
The reasons for this ironic reality are still being investigated, but there are several potential causes, including:
* Sweet taste alone appears to increase hunger, regardless of caloric content.
* Artificial sweeteners appear to simply perpetuate a craving for sweets, and overall sugar consumption is therefore not reduced—leading to further problems controlling your weight.
* Artificial sweeteners may disrupt your body’s natural ability to “count calories,” as evidenced in studies such as this 2004 study at Purdue University, which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids.
In the end, the research tells us that artificial sweeteners are NOT a dieter’s best friend, because contrary to what the marketing campaigns claim, low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners are more likely to help you pack on the pounds than shed them.
There are also a large number of health dangers associated with artificial sweeteners and aspartame in particular. I’ve started compiling a growing list of studies pertaining to health problems associated with aspartame, which you can find here. If you’re still on the fence, I highly recommend reviewing these studies for yourself so that you can make an educated decision.
For more information on aspartame, the worst artificial sweetener, please see my aspartame video.
8: Soy is a Health Food
The meteoric rise of soy as a “health food” is a perfect example of how a brilliant marketing strategy can fool millions. But make no mistake about it, unfermented soy products are NOT healthful additions to your diet.
If you find this recommendation startling then I would encourage you to review my Why Soy Can Damage Your Health, which contains links to dozens of articles on the topic, and a video I recently did.
On the contrary, thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.
Not only that, but more than 90 percent of American soy crops are genetically modified, which carries its own set of health risks.
Here is a sampling of the detrimental health effects that have been linked to soy consumption:
* Breast cancer
* Brain damage
* Infant abnormalities
* Thyroid disorders
* Kidney stones
* Immune system impairment
* Severe, potentially fatal food allergies
* Impaired fertility
* Danger during pregnancy and nursing
I am not opposed to all soy, however. Organic and, most importantly, properly fermented soy does have great health benefits. Examples of such healthful fermented soy products include tempeh, miso and natto.
9: Whole Grains are Good for Everyone
The use of whole-grains is an easy subject to get confused on especially for those who have a passion for nutrition, as for the longest time we were told the fiber in whole grains is highly beneficial.
Unfortunately ALL grains, including whole-grain and organic varieties, can elevate your insulin levels, which can increase your risk of disease.
It has been my experience that more than 85 percent of Americans have trouble controlling their insulin levels — especially those who have the following conditions:
* High blood pressure
* High cholesterol
* Protein metabolic types
In addition, sub-clinical gluten intolerance is far more common than you might think, which can also wreak havoc with your health.
As a general rule, I strongly recommend eliminating grains as well as sugars from your diet, especially if you have any of the above conditions that are related to insulin resistance. The higher your insulin levels and the more prominent your signs of insulin overload are, the more ambitious your grain elimination needs to be.
If you are one of the fortunate ones without insulin resistance and of normal body weight, then grains are fine, especially whole grains. It is wise to continue to monitor your grain consumption and your health as life is dynamic and constantly changing. What might be fine when you are 25 or 30 could become a major problem at 40 when your growth hormone and level of exercise is different.
10: All Plant Based Supplements are as Good as Animal Supplements
The primary example here is that of omega-3’s. It’s very important to realize that not all omega-3 fats are the same, and that the type and source of your omega-3 will make a big difference in the health benefits it provides.
There are three types of omega-3 fats:
* DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
* EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
* ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)
Many people do not realize that most of the well-known health benefits associated with omega-3 fats – such as mental health, stronger bones and heart health — are linked to the animal-based omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA), not the plant-based omega-3 fat (ALA).
ALA, which is the type of omega-3 found in flaxseed and nuts, is converted into EPA and DHA in your body, but only at a very low ratio.
So even if you eat large amounts of ALA, your body can only convert a relatively small amount into EPA and DHA, and only when sufficient enzymes are present.
This does not mean plant-based omega-3 fats are intrinsically harmful or that they should be avoided, only that you ideally want to include an animal-based form as well. Personally, I regularly include omega-3 (ALA) plant-based foods, like flax and hemp, in my diet, but these are always combined with animal-based omega-3 fats.
But in order to reap its most important health benefits, your omega-3 needs to be from an animal source. For more information on this topic, please read through my previous article, Are You Getting the Right Type of Omega-3 Fats?
11: Milk Does Your Body Good
Can milk do your body good?
Yes, if it’s RAW.
Unfortunately, this myth insists that conventional pasteurized milk has health benefits, which is far from true. Conventional health agencies also refuse to address the real dangers of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in conventional milk.
Please understand that I do not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind, including organic, because once milk has been pasteurized its physical structure is changed in a way that can actually cause allergies and immune problems.
Important enzymes like lactase are destroyed, which causes many people to not be able to digest milk. Additionally, vitamins (such as A, C, B6 and B12) are diminished and fragile milk proteins are radically transformed from health nurturing to unnatural amino acid configurations that can actually worsen your health.
The eradication of beneficial bacteria through the pasteurization process also ends up promoting pathogens rather than protecting you from them.
The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in my estimation, one of the finest sources of calcium available.
For more details please watch the interview I did with Mark McAfee, who is the owner of Organic Pastures, the largest organic dairy in the US.
12: Low-Fat Diets are Healthy
The low-fat myth may have done more harm to the health of millions than any other dietary recommendation. Again, just as the recommendations to avoid sunshine has increased melanoma rates, the low-fat craze led to increased consumption of trans-fats, which we now know increases your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
To end the confusion, it’s very important to realize that eating fat will not make you fat!
The primary cause of excess weight and all the chronic diseases associated with it, is actually the consumption of too much sugar — especially fructose, but also all sorts of grains, which rapidly convert to sugar in your body.
If only the low-fat craze had been a low-sugar craze… then we wouldn’t have nearly as much chronic disease as we have today.
For an explanation of why and how a low-fat diet can create the very health problems it’s claimed to prevent, please see this previous article.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of health myths out there, and it only seems to be getting worse… The 12 myths reviewed above are but a sampling, because there are still many more.
- Dr Mercola (www.mercola.com)
I bet you’d love to have those dreamy abs as much as I do. Well, this little instrument will make it possible.
Also known by its adrenaline-infused moniker of the power tower, the captain’s chair is probably the best machine you can build your abs on if you’re desiring that perfect Hollywood washboard abs look. However, there are some tricks to using it, and not all models are equally effective. A captain’s chair well-used will get you a dream body, but used poorly and you’re just tiring yourself out pointlessly. Don’t go into your exercise routine ill-informed!
The machine is named for its resemblance to a chair, with armrests and a backrest, although it’s operated from a standing position without a seat. In a gym, you’ll see expensive models worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But a lighter-framed variant for casual home use will only cost around a hundred dollars in most stores. It is fairly bulky, and so you should plan out a space for it if intend to put one in your home.
To accomplish the primary ab-oriented exercise of the captain’s chair, one’s weight is balanced on the arms and back against the rests, while the legs are bent and lifted up till the knees are above the arms. So don’t do this one if your arms are weak! Your back should also be firmly planted on the rest and stable, or it can be strained easily. Most models will offer handles on the armrests to help with stabilization.
Once you’re in the right position and doing the exercise appropriately, it will only be a few reps before you feel the tension in your abs. As with all exercises, don’t overdo it. Instead, take a break between every set of reps, and don’t work your abs every single day.
If you’re self-conscious about your fat levels, you may also need to lose weight before you get the abs you want. The captain’s chair is a versatile machine that can offer a number of exercises, but unfortunately cardio-based ones aren’t among its repertoire. But cardio is one of the easiest exercise types to work into anyone’s lifestyle. Although time-consuming, it requires no real equipment to do properly. Even just a little jogging on a weekly basis can do a lot for weight loss. And the faster you shed those pounds, the faster you can see the muscles your abs are developing. So long as you remember to not expect more out of your body than it can give you under its environment, you’ll never be disappointed with your abs.
Almost everyone has been told, at some point in their youth, to eat fruits and vegetables that we didn’t really want to eat. Of course we assume this is for good reason, but it’s so rare for people to be able to actually point out why it is. What’s in plants that’s so much better for us? Why can’t we get the same nutrients from other things? As it turns out, the key to it all is fiber, making fiber foods that are rich in this nutrient an important part of anyone’s diet and digestive lifestyle.
Unlike most nutrients, fiber arrives essentially unchanged in the colon, rather than being absorbed by the intestines or the stomach. There are two primary uses your body has for this fiber: firstly, to provide roughage for comfortable passing of stools, and secondly, to provide nutrition to the bacteria that naturally inhabit your colon. Therefore, if you’re having trouble on the toilet or having other digestion-related ills, one of the first things you should consider is increasing your fiber intake. This is, of course, provided that you don’t already have sufficient fiber intake, but few people other than vegetarians do, these days.
While we mostly associate bacteria with negative things, there are many millions of good bacteria in everyone’s colons. These bacteria help to fight disease and promote healthy consistency of stools. If you didn’t have them, you’d be in a great deal of trouble, which is why enemas are not generally recommended by doctors as a do-it-yourself health procedure.
So what should you eat to get the fiber you need for a healthy gut? There are a lot of things, in fact. Many vegetables are higher in fiber than others, such as artichokes, various types of beans, and corn. Wheat-derived products are also helpful, but the processed white style of bread is not, and should be avoided in favor of whole wheat breads. Many nuts are also viable fiber sources. So if you don’t care for your vegetables, don’t worry, there are plenty of other choices.
While planning your dietary considerations, don’t forget that there are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Your body requires both for healthy maintenance, so plan to get both in roughly equal amounts. Some foods will have more of one than the other, or may be composed almost wholly of one or the other. But the aforementioned artichokes split it at fifty-fifty, making them an easy choice for your fiber foods. So long as you get what you need, it doesn’t really matter where you get it.
Those who wish to use fasting for fat loss will frequently have two basic, overriding questions when they begin: How long shoud they fast, and how often? These are questions without easy answers, but if you’re willing to consider all the factors and move through it patiently, you’ll certainly find the answer that’s correct for you. Some general guidelines, however, are applicable to all individuals, and it is helpful rules like these that we’ll use to show you the correct method to fast. And it doesn’t matter if you’re using water fasting diets, detox fasting, or some other form of fasting..
. these foundational principles apply to all of it!
There’s no mystery behind fasting for individuals who want to lose fat. It’s really intuitive: you stop eating and keep yourself fueled having a minimum amount of liquids, forcing your entire body to adjust by burning off body fat. Nevertheless, done improperly it will cause your health to degrade rapidly. And you definitely shouldn’t try a fast whilst maintaining a physically demanding lifestyle! Thus, fasting is best carried out by those who can afford to not tire themselves out frequently. If you’re on an exercise regimen, you may need to drop it for a little while to fast properly. One way around this would be to fast regularly, but in short periods. By fasting once every two or more days, you can work it into your normal schedule safely. However, while this is superb for temporary weight loss, it’s not always greatest for long term fat loss.
You need to begin by understanding that a fast has to last longer than twelve hours to be effective at losing weight. That’s simply because the body use body fat as its first, preferential fuel source. It has to burn through several other sources very quickly, and only by the time twelve hours have passed will it finally begin utilizing fat. Precisely how long you are able to fast depends on your body type, and how much fat you have stored up. People with much more overall body fat will be able to fast for a lot longer than somebody having a skinny, light build. You might be surprised at how long you can last… you’re definitely not going to die from just a few days, and in most cases not even from a week or two. Even thirty or forty days isn’t out from the question for those prepared for it!
The signal to end your fasting is when you’ve lost nearly all your fat, and your appetite is sharply increasing. This is really a message from your entire body telling you that it requires food soon, because it is almost out of reserves. Obey your entire body, and give it what it wants. Most of the time, you’ll have broken your fast voluntarily far before this ever becomes an issue. So do not be afraid of fasting… it can be your friend, if you’re willing to let it be.
Incredible abs: almost every man secretly wants them, and most women wish they had a man with them. But they seem so completely impossible for the typical man to attain! Yet, the principles behind getting truly ripped abs aren’t as unobtainable as you’d think. By understanding the role balance has to play in the development of our core muscles, you can exercise relatively little to get a lot of ab growth.
The torso contains quite a lot of important muscles, but the visually obvious one that you’re thinking of when you think of ‘abs’ is the rectus abdominus. The job of this muscle isn’t to keep you upright, but to keep the spine bent forward when you want it bent. However, by making it more difficult to keep yourself balanced, you can put more pressure on your rectus abdominus.
Why would you want to do that? Because the more pressure you put on that muscle, the faster it grows, assuming a healthy fitness regimen. Crunches and situps are what you’re probably trying to get your abs ripped with… but it’s not working too well, is it? And that’s because those kinds of exercises don’t destabilize your balance enough to make your rectus abdominus work hard. To get that necessary destabilization, you need equipment.
This equipment can be as simple and cheap as an exercise ball, or it can be a fabulously expensive and efficient captain’s chair. There are several other machines for similar purposes that can all typically be found in any well-equipped gym. If you don’t want to buy these things, how about a gym or fitness club membership instead? The point with all these items is all the same: keep your body moving on a simple, basic series of movements as exercise while your primary stability is deprived of you. There’s no way to really work out your abs without forcing them to work out, by deliberately placing them in a situation that deprives them of their usual crutches.
This is obviously harder work than doing a few crunches in the morning every day. The advantages, however, are scientifically proven and objectively outweigh doing more exercise in a less efficient way. Especially when combined with just some light, basic fat-melting cardio, you’ll find that these techniques can give you wonderful abs quicker than you would have thought possible.
So get out there and give it a try, if you dare. Those dreams abs don’t have to remain a dream forever.
Nature has been nice enough to offer us an incredible variety of beans. They come in many different types, every one with their own appearances, flavors, textures, and suitability for different recipes and dishes. But those who are interested in a wholesome diet will wish to know which beans are their best choices for nutrition, and this isn’t always instantly obvious with so many choices to pick from. If this slightly lost individual sounds like you, then all you’ve got to do is finish a few more paragraphs to know everything you need to about bean fiber.
Pole beans, broad beans, and green beans are one of your worst choices, regrettably. For half a cup they only provide a meager two grams of fiber. Whilst certainly much better than junk food, that’s not a lot compared to what you can get from other sources. Unless you really like these beans or need them for non-fiber nutrients, you should most likely consider swapping them out for some thing else.
Lima beans fare much better, and have two to three times the fiber content of the aforementioned bean kinds. It certainly helps that they’re nearly free of charge of fat compared to the nutrients they give! There are, obviously, limited dishes that use lima beans. If you’ll need something more versatile, there are other choices to explore.
Numerous other kinds of beans have much better levels of fiber, with up to twenty grams for a cup! These include black beans, kidney beans, pintos, garbanzos, and even baked beans. Unlike the beans within the above two paragraphs, these types are suitable for a huge variety of dishes, and can also be eaten in and of themselves.
Be careful not to cook all of the fiber out of these delicious fiber foods, though. Whenever practical, steam your beans rather than cooking them in a harsher fashion. By steaming, you keep almost all the nutrition from the bean. Less wholesome cooking methods will turn these beans into empty carbs, so take care. Some types of beans, especially green beans, are also particularly sensitive to light whilst cooking. You should cover your beans whilst they’re steaming to avoid issues from this. Other than that, there’s not significantly you require to complete to enjoy a healthy fiber-rich diet… just appreciate the cheap food, and dig in! And always remember: it’s not about what goes inside your body period, it’s about what goes inside your entire body according to what you need based on your environment.
Fasting for weight loss is becoming a more popular option in the modern world where many people are pressed for time and would happily embrace any reasonable excuse to just skip a few meals every once in a while. While they can be effective when done properly, these fasts put a lot of stress on the body. This stress isn’t always appropriate for people with certain conditions or lifestyles. It can be extremely dangerous for people to fast if they not physically and mentally prepared to handle it. So when is it NOT okay to try a typical water or juice fasting weight loss method?
Pregnant and nursing women are the first category to go. If those conditions apply to you, you shouldn’t even think of fasting. Your body needs all the nutrition it can get, since it’s literally feeding two people instead of one.
You should also avoid juice fasting for weight loss if you can’t use juices derived from fruits or vegetables you normally enjoy. If you’ve never tried a particular fruit before, don’t try it on a fast! Suffering an allergic attack in such circumstances is potentially very dangerous. You should only use juices derived from things you’ve already had and know your body can tolerate. Remember that even such innocent produce as pineapples, peaches, and bananas can be the focus of allergic reactions.
Diabetics generally should not fast unless their condition is mild, and should consult a doctor beforehand in any case. Diabetics who require medication are not recommended to fast unless their doctor explicitly approves. For that matter, if you’re taking any medications at all, you should talk to your doctor about how fasting may interact with them. The complex dance between medicines and body chemistry is still far from figured out. Rely on the experts.
Other medical conditions related to nutrition can also be issues. If your body starts out with a serious nutritional deficiency due to some defect or other, then depriving it of what little it can get just isn’t a good idea. And if you’re sick from a cold, flu, or some other illness? Forget about it.
But for all that, the average healthy or even just moderately unhealthy person can safely fast for a week or more with no ill effects. Don’t forget that there are many kinds of fasts to try, too… juice fasts, detox fasts, even plain water fasts. Pick the one that works for you, if you feel that you’re ready.
The abs are a rather special part of your body. Getting them looking great isn’t the same as getting your biceps or triceps huge. Yet a vast amount of people start working on their abs as though they’re any other body part, using techniques for things they’re not intended for. But if you truly want those washboard abs, the first thing you need to do is drop all those misconceptions so you can approach your body in a way that will get you meaningful results.
Let’s begin with ab-specific exercises. There are no exercises that will specifically drop the fat from your abs but not from the rest of your body. No, if you want to trim down, you’re going to have to do it the hard way: through good old-fashioned cardio and other methods that slim your whole body. There’s simply no other realistic options. Once you’re on a program that will take you to your ideal fat level, there’s definitely a place for exercises just for your abs, to bulk up their muscles. But that’s not the top priority in your exercise scheme, and overdoing it can actually damage your tissues. Ab exercises two to three times a week is plenty. And when you’re picking out those exercises, don’t just go for endless crunches and situps. Work smarter, not harder, by doing fewer repetitions of more effective exercises on ab-focused equipment such as the exercise ball.
A lot of people won’t connect good abs with dieting, but honestly, a healthy diet is just as important as cardio for defining your abs. It’s not just about how much fat you work out of your body, but how much fat you put in, too. If you’re eating a lot of junk foods, you’re going to have to exercise that much harder to get your abs looking the way you want. Very few people in the standard Western society environment are physically active enough to match their diets. So, drop the sweets and switch to whole grains and fruits and vegetables. No one likes hearing it, but just like cardio, it’s the only honest answer you’ll ever get. While you don’t have to turn into a vegetarian, you do have to reduce your meat intake and cook that meat in a healthy manner.
Once you’ve stepped out of the misconception that there’s a ‘get good abs’ quick solution, you’ll be able to address things with a realistic lifestyle. If you’re ready for it, you really can have those abs you want… but you have to work for it and make it a part of your lifestyle. Temporary measures are always doomed to failure.